As the mother of three kids, I’ve become accustomed to cutting things into three equal pieces. I can break a cookie into equal thirds without measurement. I can cut a piece of birthday cake into three equal slices without a ruler. I was never great at geometry, but my mommy math skills have served me well in my family’s economy. This economy of scarcity is what I find myself facing in daily life much too often.
But in God’s economy, there’s a whole different arrangement. Jesus can offer healing to this guy over here, but also to me. God can pour grace down in my life and then also into the life of every other person on the planet. We don’t have to divvy up God’s love or cut it into three equal sections.
In John 14:28, Jesus says he’s going away, but his followers are troubled and afraid (verse 27). They’re afraid they won’t get any more of Jesus’ goodness when he is gone. They are troubled they won’t see him, that he’ll be with God and not them. Reminding them that they should rejoice for him, Jesus offers the Spirit to be his presence when he isn’t physically there.
Jesus also offers peace (John 14:28). Peace is a self-sustaining gift: the more you give it away, the more there is. Peace isn’t easily divided up because when you share it, it spreads – the opposite of that economy of scarcity we face each day. We don’t have to battle each other when seeking God’s peace – there is plenty to go around and more than enough to spare.
In this Easter season we continue to be blown away by the stories of the resurrected Jesus. He’s not limping through the afterlife, parceling out peace like bread crumbs, distributing blessings like a lonely cookie in a household of three kids. No, Jesus scattered blessings and peace around willy-nilly on the Christian survivors. He tossed goodness around like it was going out of style. Jesus showed up to bring peace and hope wherever his followers gathered to grieve: on the road, in locked rooms, at the Sea of Tiberias, at a breakfast on the beach, at the tomb and in the garden.
In God’s economy, there is plenty of grace to go around. There is plenty of the Spirit to go around. There is plenty of Jesus’ love to go around. No one is left bereft. The economy of God is one of abundance, grace, mercy and more than enough. Jesus can love you and me too. The Spirit inspires you and me too. We don’t have to work on carving out the imperfect parts of the church (after all, we’d soon end up carving ourselves right out of the picture too).
Instead we can celebrate with all those everywhere who call on the name of the Lord and gather together in God’s name. And we can all hold onto that final blessing Jesus gives, without being hurt that “God loves him more than me” or that “she got more of God’s grace than I did!” Jesus wishes us peace in all circumstances: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27).
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers